After 1993’s Macaulay Culkin-fronted “The Nutcracker” grossed $2.1 million and last year’s “The Nutcracker 3D” grossed $110,000, there’s absolutely no reason why New Line Cinema wouldn’t think it prudent to line up yet another update of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet. But if you’re starting to think that New Line knows something you don’t, you’re right: They’ve hired Adam Shankman to direct the thing.
Adam Shankman is a studio’s dream. On all of the film’s he’s directed, his only concern seems to be entertaining audiences. He has no voice. His point of view is an amalgam of every 4 to 104-year-old person of any gender, race and religion who hates anything resembling pretension. He’s directed “The Wedding Planner,” “A Walk to Remember,” “Bringing Down the House,” “The Pacifier,” “Cheaper by the Dozen 2,” “Hairspray” and “Bedtime Stories.” What do all of these films have in common? They’re inoffensive and they all make money. The guy can’t lose.
This version of “The Nutcracker” will be based on the 1815 book by E.T.A. Hoffman, which is about “a young girl and a wooden toy soldier who comes alive and leads her on an adventure.” The filmmakers are aspiring for a tone similar to Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” which was mostly lambasted by critics, but grossed a billion dollars at the worldwide box office last year.
The film is being produced by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, whose last endeavor was a little capital “A” art house indie called “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn–Part 1,” which probably won’t put them in the $1 billion club, but a cool seven or eight hundred million ain’t too shabby, either.
After a four-year gap between films (“Bedtime Stories” was actually expected to be a much bigger hit than the $100 million it scraped together domestically), Shankman has “Rock of Ages” coming out in summer 2012 and then with ‘The Nutcracker’ following in 2013, he’ll be back to directing a movie every year or two, as he is accustomed.
No word yet on casting, but if they get Justin Bieber to play the Nutcracker Prince, we’re going to have to Occupy the set. [Deadline]